Introductory meeting at the Riveredge Nature Center on September 6th at 6:30pm

Learn how citizens of Ozaukee and Washington Counties can build a Community Groundwater Network

Neighbors, farmers, schools, and businesses of Ozaukee and Washington Counties can work together to understand groundwater, create smart local agreements, increase social and economic resilience, and protect the land and property value.

Experts will share facts about area groundwater, you can see live demonstrations, discuss project goals, and enjoy refreshments and conversation.

Learn more about and RSVP for this meeting here.

August 17th: Groundwater in South Benton County Oregon

Alpine Oregon

Learn how citizens and neighbors of South Benton County Oregon can work together to measure and understand groundwater, build community support for smart local management, and protect property value.

See live demonstrations, discuss project goals, enjoy refreshments.

At the Alpine Community Center
6pm – 8pm, August 17th

RSVP RICHARDSAYLOR@PEAK.ORG.

Download and share a flyer for this event:

Building a community groundwater network in South Benton County Oregon

John Teppler joins Wellntel as Technical Lead

Wellntel is excited to announce the addition of John Teppler as Technical Lead.

John has been working closely with the Science, R&D and Commercial Teams for the last month, learning about Wellntel Sensor, Gateway and Cloud technologies, participating in research projects in the lab and the field, and of course, supporting customers and sponsors with answers to questions and system improvements.

John joins Wellntel with a BS in Geosciences, passions for hydrology and hydrogeology from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and deep experience with sensors, data, and groundwater using tools like ArcGIS, ArcMap, MATlab, GroundwaterVista, MODFlow and MODPath. During his work as an Undergraduate Researcher at UWM, he focused on distributed temperature sensing in ground to surface water interactions. During field work, he helped induce geyser eruptions using hydrostatic pressure near Green River, Utah.

John gets groundwater and is eager to help others get it too.

Most importantly, John is personable, quick, and creative. Customers will appreciate his straight talk and responsiveness.

John can be reached at jpteppler@wellntel.com or via the Wellntel toll-free number, which is 844-935-5426.

Wellntel Announces Sensor Firmware V2 (SV2)

Today, Wellntel is announcing Wellntel Sensor Firmware V2 (SV2). This new firmware is important in two ways:

1.) It substantially improves the ability of an out-of-the-box sensor to find and track groundwater levels with little or no calibration in a wide range of physical and acoustic well conditions, and when situations in the field change. Therefore, it simplifies start-up, improves dataset consistency, minimizes false alerts, and reduces future sensor attention. Sponsors, Members and Owners get great results faster, they last longer, and are more useful in a network.

2.) It does these things while not affecting sample-level accuracy of the sensor.

With SV2: Wellntel is more efficient, simpler to benchmark, and network ready. What does that mean?

  • Remote systems start up more quickly. Most SensorLink systems (systems that do not utilize a Wellntel Gateway) will find and track water with little or no local calibration effort.
  • Comparing results from Wellntel to other measurement devices, like tapes or pressure transducers is straightforward. Since there is far less chance of a noise or distance-based error, there is less need to run long tests to find and apply average offsets. Said simply: if proper well height information is entered at registration, tape, calibrated transducer and Wellntel readings should match.

  • Groundwater networks are easier, faster, and more reliable. V2 firmware is especially useful in creating local groundwater networks normalized to elevation. Since V2 sensors will find and track water faster and more consistently, a network can be installed, started-up, and, with proper cloud-side well settings applied, will deliver model-ready data in the first hours of operation, and continue to do so for years, as long as the systems remain powered.

V2 firmware is being installed on all sensors leaving the Wellntel factory as of this week. All existing Wellntel sensors are compatible with V2.

Since this is a major upgrade, remote upgrade is only possible if done locally by a qualified Wellntel technician or by returning the sensor to the factory for upgrade. Current owners and sponsors wanting to take advantage of these new capabilities should make plans to return their sensor(s) the factory to be refreshed and reprogrammed with this new firmware, or to have a technician visit and conduct the upgrade in the field, where possible.

There is a one-time $100 charge/sensor, including shipping both ways, for a factory upgrade, and upgrade work will be done on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sponsors and owners can order upgrades at this page.

Wellntel Launches the Community Groundwater Monitoring Network in a Box

Wellntel’s Community Groundwater Network in a Box is a citizen-science breakthrough and enabler of true public/private partnerships to improve rural life and resource resilience.

Five systems, well-placed, create a new standard for local groundwater understanding and agreements.

Community Groundwater Network Dashboard

A Community Groundwater Monitoring Network in a Box is a way for a community to come together to learn and grow. A Sponsor (a township, business, village, not-for-profit, or group of neighbors) pulls together the funds to purchase the sensors and data servicers, and recruits Members who agree to host this systems and create the network. The network gathers information about groundwater that has not been available until now, and can be used to ensure community resilience.

Placed strategically in a county, watershed, around high-capacity pumping wells, or near a surface water body, a Community Groundwater Network is an opportunity to assess and/or monitor local risk, view groundwater pumping impacts on local lands and people, see seasonal variations/impacts on the resource.

Sensors can be programmed to deliver near-realtime data at a time-interval as long as once a week, or as frequent as once an hour (or faster, depending on application). Programmable alerts will call for action when it is warranted. Telemetry is included: data is sent using existing internet infrastructure (very small data requirements), with no fees for bandwidth or airtime. Cellular telemetry is available for remote locations. Calibration is one-time and lasts as long as the system is well-maintained.

What’s in the box?

  • Five Wellntel Static Kits, including sensors, batteries, gateways, and all parts, pieces and instructions to install and commission and run the network for three years.
  • Five Member accounts, including access to well hydrographs, area data, system water level and operational alerts, and ability to add and remove Member User accounts
  • One Sponsor Master Account, including regional view, well level and area data, local alerts, and the ability to add and remove Sponsor User accounts
  • End to end security and privacy. Device-level encryption and Sponsor/Member privacy control.
  • Sponsor Program Support, including boilerplate agreements, location planning, well-suitability tools, installation guidance and on-call technical support.
  • Software tools to support local diagnostics, D2W snapshots, and more.
  • Three years of Sponsor Data Services, including monthly data scrubbing, preparation and coding for external models, databases or reports.

Sponsor Data Services can be prepaid or billed and paid monthly.

Organizations interested in Sponsoring a first network between now and August 15th are invited to take advantage of special discounts on hardware. Email cpdunning@wellntel.com or call 844-935-5426 to discuss project goals and receive discount coupons.

Community Groundwater Network in a box

Community Groundwater Network in a Box

Gateway Firmware Update Improves System Resilience

We’ve been working to improve system uptime and data integrity, and today, we’ll begin rolling out new firmware that does both.

What’s new in Gateway Firmware V1.2.14:

If you are using a Wellntel Gateway for telemetry, you’ll like two improvements in our latest version of firmware.

1.) Some Wellntel Gateways have shown susceptibility to local network changes or conditions that can cause a Gateway to lose its connection to the cloud without warning. Data are not often lost, but can be temporarily interrupted until the owner responds to our request to take action to reset the system. This new firmware should significantly reduce the need for action. By default, Wellntel Gateways with V1.2.14 or later will automatically call for fresh network instructions once a day, so little owner/member attention will be required.

2.)  We’ve seen rare but bothersome periods when Wellntel Gateways have temporarily issued improper time that they received from public NTP servers, causing sensors to send data for up to a day with time stamps 24 hours old. While we can’t definitively call out hackers as the source of these time-shifts, there is good reason to believe that their work is at the root of these errors. It should be said that the Wellntel network — hardware, firmware and the cloud — is hardened and secure and has never been compromised. Instead, shared time-issuing servers on which all Internet computers depend are the target and the culprit. Regardless of the source, V1.2.14 firmware ensures that even if NTP servers are temporarily compromised, data from your Wellntel equipment will not be.

Our plan is to begin pushing this firmware to all live Gateways this week. Most customers will not need to take any action. In the rare case that need your help, expect that a representative will reach out directly to ask for it.

And a special shout out to customers, sponsors and members who stepped up to beta test this package. You know who you are. Thank you!

As always, if you have questions, please feel free to contact us during regular business hours (9am – 5pm Central) at 844-935-5426 or email techsupport@wellntel.com.

Team Wellntel
techsupport@wellntel.com
844-935-5426

As central oversight lessens, neighbors take resilience into their own hands

The need for continuous hydrological data is growing, while the ability of government agencies to collect and interpret these data is flat or declining.

Photo from Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 111, full citation below *

The responsibility for groundwater resource management is shifting from governments to citizens

Recent legislation and legal rulings on groundwater use in Wisconsin have continued the trend toward less state-level regulation and oversight. If groundwater use and resource stewardship is to become increasingly a local responsibility, improving the effectiveness of management will require that neighbors and communities pool resources to ensure that “much is known by many”. In the context of groundwater, “much” describes information that is dense, accurate, and objective, and “many” describes all affected stakeholders. Historically, the data available for groundwater assessment and management would best be described as “little is known by few”. In this case, the amount of data is “little” (or modest) because of the cost of institutional data gathering by the “few”, those being the centralized government agencies who have had responsibility for collecting and interpreting groundwater data.

Contributors of water data

Ideally, every stakeholder contributes to the knowledge that supports science-based water resource management. Data collected by community volunteers and local organizations (often called citizen science) are essential because they often fill gaps in institutional data to paint a more complete picture of a dynamic groundwater resource. In addition, citizen science can play a critical role in the management of groundwater resources and become the foundation for education and engagement of local communities most affected by changes to their groundwater resource. The interest of these communities in having a voice in local management of groundwater has grown substantially over recent years.

Leveraging community-level data collection and engagement

Lacking until now has been a way to apply the skills and enthusiasm of citizen scientists to the collection of groundwater-level data for understanding the dynamics of local groundwater resources. Opportunities to access non-pumping monitoring wells are generally limited and measuring the depth to water in pumping wells (residential and farm) is difficult. The best attributes of citizen science will be enhanced by enabling communities to collect groundwater-level data that are accurate, consistent, continuous, and that can be easily shared in real-time with the entire community.

Wellntel provides the solution for communities and other stakeholders to work together with their citizen scientists to collect high-quality data in pumping and non-pumping wells with greater spatial and temporal density, and at much lower cost than traditional methods. Wellntel systems consist of a simple, easy-to-install groundwater-level sensor, a receiver plugged into a router in a nearby building that will push data to the internet, cloud-based computational processing, and real-time presentation of hydrographs. A system deployed on a private well provides that owner with important operational data, such as pumping water levels in relation to pump depth or the effect of pumping by neighboring wells. Systems deployed across a number of private wells can be considered in aggregate, creating a new network or augmenting an existing monitoring network with geo-spatially- and temporally-dense datasets.

Wellntel systems have been proven to provide accurate and objective groundwater-level data on a platform that is as easily used by citizen scientists as by professional scientists.

Wellntel fills a critical gap in meeting the growing need for continuous groundwater data

As stewardship of local groundwater resources falls more on local organizations and community volunteers, collecting data that are dense and accurate, as well as relatively budget friendly, is increasingly essential. With Wellntel, municipalities, communities, and the broader scientific community can for the first time join together to provide the “continuity of observations” that focuses directly on their most critical groundwater resource concerns. A network of Wellntel systems deployed on public and private wells will provide time-series data that are critical for broadly visualizing and managing local groundwater resources, and making local sense of regional trends. This new opportunity to create community groundwater networks moves us all toward the goal that “much is known by many”, a requirement for effective resource management.

 

  • Bradbury, K.R., Fienen, M.N., Kniffin, M.L., Krause, J.J., Westenbroek, S.M., Leaf, A.T., and Barlow, P.M., 2017, Groundwater flow model for the Little Plover River basin in Wisconsin’s Central Sands: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 111, 82 p.

 

 

Wellntel data confirm satellite-based groundwater trends

Providing networked data at the level needed to make informed decisions, take action, and manage local groundwater resources

This colorful map, developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, provides an important view of the extent and level of drought and wetness in shallow aquifers across the United States. These regional conditions vary seasonally and in response to changing weather and climate, and are an important context for local changes to shallow groundwater. The value of local time-series data collected by networks of Wellntel systems is increased by the the understanding of regional and historical variations as presented by this map.

Groundwater Drought/Wetness Percentiles, February 13, 2017 (NASA)

Groundwater Drought/Wetness Percentiles, February 13, 2017 (NASA)


The baseline against which the drought and wetness levels of February 13, 2017 are assigned is the range and average of historical conditions experienced over the period 1948-2009. This map, a new version of which is produced weekly, is based on the integration of GRACE terrestrial water storage observations and other data within a numerical model of land surface water and energy processes. A useful description of the science behind the development of high resolution GRACE-based Drought/Wetness Maps is provided by Matt Rodell and others at the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. This and other maps presenting drought data are available at the National Drought Mitigation Center website

 


The map presents in white, areas of shallow groundwater that are currently (map date) experiencing near average conditions of drought/wetness. Specifically, the white areas are within 20% of the mean of the historical drought/wetness range – meaning percentiles ranging from 30% to 70% of the range.

 


Areas of warm colors on the map indicate that drought conditions (low wetness) currently exist relative to the historical range and mean. For instance, areas of the US covered by the orange color are experiencing shallow groundwater conditions that are drier than 90% of the historical record. The areas covered by the brown color are currently experiencing low wetness that is more extreme and rare, having been experienced only about 2% of time during the 62 year historical period.

 


Areas of cool colors on the map indicate that higher wetness conditions currently exist relative to the historical range and mean. For instance, areas of the US covered by the lightest blue color are experiencing shallow groundwater conditions that are wetter than 70% of the historical record. The areas covered by the darkest blue color are currently experiencing wetness that is more extreme and rare, having been experienced only about 2% of time during the 62 year historical period.

Regional and historic data such as illustrated by these GRACE-based maps provide an invaluable context for assessing and implementing local water-management choices. The GRACE-based maps present data at the scale of 1/8 of a degree, and the maps are expected to be “reasonably well correlated with measured water table variations over spatial scales of 25 km (16 miles) or more“. A community-based groundwater network will provide stakeholders with information at a much greater resolution, limited only by the spatial density of available wells.

The following hydrograph of data collected by a Wellntel system shows the changes experienced in the Central Coast of California, near Paso Robles. In this single-well example, the Wellntel data show the local manifestation of the regional changes presented by the GRACE maps. Specifically, the hydrograph shows the transition from drought conditions in the Paso Robles area presented by the November 21, 2016 map (below), to the wetter conditions of the February 13, 2017 map (top). The hydrograph shows a rise in water level of about 45 feet over this period. A network of wells providing temporal data with this density, would be exceptionally useful in addressing important local water management challenges.

Water levels measured by Wellntel System in California well, 2016/2017

Water levels measured by Wellntel System in California well, 2016/2017

 

Groundwater Drought/Wetness Percentiles, November 21, 2016 (NASA)

Groundwater Drought/Wetness Percentiles, November 21, 2016 (NASA)

 

Sponsoring a network of Wellntel systems deployed on a mix of monitoring stations and volunteer wells will provide local time-series data that are critical for broadly visualizing and managing your groundwater resource, and making local sense of regional trends. Let Wellntel work with you to create a network of private and public wells to deliver high-density data via the web at a cost substantially less than previous technology and approaches. The most important outcome of a sponsored network may be engaging the primary stakeholders – well owners and the community – to become their own best advocates to understand, manage, and protect their shared resource.

.

 

 

“In a nonstationary world, continuity of observations is critical”*

Groundwater isn’t static anymore…

It is true that groundwater as a natural resource has never been truly static, in the sense that it is constantly moving from points of recharge to points of natural discharge. All components of the hydrological cycle, including groundwater, move continually in response to large-scale physical drivers and the energy dynamics of phase changes.

However, these physical drivers have increasingly been altered as a result of climate change. As presented in the POLICY FORUM of the periodical Science, a column titled Stationarity is Dead: Whither Water Management* states “climate change undermines a basic assumption that historically has facilitated management of water supplies, demands, and risks.”

….in that the foundational assumption of hydrologic stationarity is no longer valid.

Climate change undermines the foundational assumption of stationarity. Simply, stationarity is the premise that measurable processes of natural systems vary in predictable ways, within unchanging bounds of variability. The column further states “Stationarity is dead because substantial anthropogenic change of Earth’s climate is altering the means and extremes of precipitation, evapotranspiration, and rates of discharge of rivers.”*

Visualization of a very wavy Northern Hemisphere jet stream. (NASA)

Visualization of a very wavy Northern Hemisphere jet stream. (NASA)

All hydrological sciences have been built around the assumption of stationarity, as have the practical applications of water management and engineering. The effect of global climate change on the probability of hydrologic events and the traditional practice of water science is a profound complication.

Understanding local hydrology and groundwater resources requires, more than ever before, the collection of local, continuous hydrologic data.

As stated in the Science column “In a nonstationary world, continuity of observations is critical.”* This argues that greater temporal and spatial density of data are required to build the hydrologic understanding to meet local and regional groundwater challenges.

How this affects you.

The need for continuous hydrological data is increasing, while the ability of government agencies to collect and interpret these data is flat or declining. Even when funds for science are more readily available, state and federal agencies can not collect data at a pace and in enough places to address issues most important to local communities. Fortunately, municipalities, communities, and other stakeholders can now join together as SPONSORS and MEMBERS to create powerful networks of Wellntel systems to provide the “continuity of observations” that focuses directly on their most critical groundwater resource concerns.

*Milly and others, Stationarity Is Dead: Whither Water Management?, Science  01 Feb 2008: Vol. 319, Issue 5863, pp. 573-574.

Wellntel Announces New Groundwater Data Services, Capabilities, and Pricing for Network Sponsors

Milwaukee, WI — May 11, 2017 — Wellntel, Inc. (https://www.wellntel.com).

As water and resource agencies around the United State embrace Wellntel as a platform for creating Community Groundwater Networks, Wellntel is unveiling a new suite of groundwater-level data services designed to accelerate network expansion, data analysis, and fact-based outcomes and actions.

Conventionally, groundwater data have been collected and processed manually. Wellntel sponsors are finding that with Wellntel, collection can be automated using the built-in telemetry and Cloud. Once in the Cloud, Wellntel’s new Data Services – included as part of every Sponsor Network – improve and streamline the analytical tasks, data management and communication of groundwater facts to meet sponsor goals.

The benefits of becoming a Wellntel sponsor – and of Wellntel’s Data Services –  accrue immediately. The Wellntel team works in partnership with sponsors to plan and train for the deployment of the network and also supports with the basics of volunteer member recruitment including legal templates, well specifications for ideal candidates, and best practices developed by current Wellntel sponsors.

Then, as data are being collected, Wellntel helps sponsors get the most from their networks. For example, a county or state agency that sponsors a Community Groundwater Network may want to port data from the entire network into monthly or weekly reports, into hydrologic models, or to a public website (depending on sponsor sharing agreements). Wellntel Sponsor Data Services streamline this work.

Sponsor Data Services include, but are not limited to:

  • Well suitability and site planning assistance
  • Software tools and support for remote commissioning and calibration
  • Application and program best practices
  • Unlimited data storage, back-ups and VM redundancy (mirrored DBs geographically dispersed)
  • Unlimited users associated with member and sponsor accounts
  • Quality control on aggregated data for models and feeds
  • Boilerplate agreements
  • Discounts on orders of 5 units or more.

The price of each sponsored Wellntel system includes hardware and a 3-year data subscription. Read more about plans and pricing here.

Organization and persons interested in learning more about Wellntel’s Community Groundwater Networks, in sponsoring their own networks, or in Wellntel technology, are invited to sign up for an online Webinar, or can contact Chuck Dunning PhD, Wellntel’s Vice President of Business Development at cpdunning@wellntel.com or 844-935-5426.